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Why Don’t Politicians Fight Harder for our Environment

untitledGovernor Jerry Brown and Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke have had a long-standing business relationship.  While serving as Governor in 1979, Jerry Brown initially appointed Burke to the Regents of the University of California.  Burke already made a name for herself as the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Convention back in 1972.  She was the first african-american to hold such a position.  She has sat in the US House of Representatives and served in the State Assembly representing the 63rd District. 

Burke would later resign from the Regents as Governor Brown then appointed her to fill the vacancy and serve as the LA County Supervisor for the 2nd District.  As county supervisor her largest foible was allowing the closure of the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in Willowbrook, CA.  Many thought, how could she do that to her own people?

Well it gets worst.  Chevron lost the rights to drill in the Inglewood Oil Field in 2003 to Houston based Plains Exploration & Production Co.  PXP voluntarily agreed to stop drilling while an environmental impact study was completed by a county supervisor appointed consultant.

In 2007, Burke announced she would be leaving the position.  When the LA Sentinel inquired as to who she would be endorsing, they reported she would have to wait and see who was running.  The Sentinel then ran a short list that included names like Maxine Waters, Herb Wesson, Bernard Parks, Janice Hahn and Mark Ridley-Thomas.  She would ultimately support Bernard Parks.

[ Who Will Replace Supervisor Burke (LA Sentinel, 2007) ]

In October 2008, weeks prior to leaving office, county supervisors, along with Burke, voted unanimously to resume drilling with contingencies in place capping the number of wells that could be reopened.  Burke’s position was PXP would resume drilling anyway in it was best to have some regulations in place.

Mark Ridley-Thomas heavily criticized oil drilling and was thus elected county supervisor in November 2008 over Bernard Parks.  Mark Ridley-Thomas has since worked diligently to restore medical services in the community by partnering with St. John’s Wellness Clinics which opened community based clinics at local schools in Compton and South LA.  They also specialize in environmental health services for those getting sick from the environment.  My question is, will Inglewood get one?

Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell authored legislation to ban fracking in the form of AB 1323 which was defeated.  Fellow members Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Isadore Hall and Steve Bradford all voted to NOT support the legislation.  Advocacy groups have petitioned Governor Brown to intervene which he has so far not done.

[ California Legislators kill fracking moratorium under oil industry pressure (June 2013) ]

The State of California is now the conservator to the Inglewood USD which was once part of the initial oil strike back in the 1920’s.  Governor Jerry Brown signed the order to authorize an emergency loan, SB533, to the Inglewood USD earlier than expected.  Does he know driling is back in full force in the Inglewood area?

Related articles

Oil drilling plan clears key hurdle (LA Times, 2008)

Jerry Brown’s Energy Diplomacy (June 2013)

 

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About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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